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Archive for the ‘photo repair’ Category

Restoring pet photographs

Restoring photos of your pets is just as important as restoring photos of your family. Well they are family aren’t they. Here I am showing the progress through restoring photo a dog.

Restoring pet photos

The photo is heavily damaged but with some careful thought it can be restored.

Restoring pet photos

The dogs toe pad has been replaced with the large black foot pad but scaled down and rotated and squashed. Above that some shadow has been cloned into the white space as in picture 1

Restoring pet photos

You can see the muzzle has been cleaned up a bit here, using the patch tool and clone tools.

Restoring pet photos

I have also copied the yellow dog toy from the left and pasted it to the right. I pasted again and flipped the yellow ball and with the patch and clone rebuilt the right hand side of the toy. I made sure there was some flash shadow around the ball in a slightly red tinted shadow to match the other side.

Restoring pet photos

Finished cleaning up the muzzle and shadow underneath with clone tools and patch.

Restoring pet photos

Here I have used the left side of the leg and clone upward towards the ball. I flipped this leg edge and used it for the right side.

Fortunately the customer had another photo of the dog lying down and I able to distort and warp the rear leg to replace much of the missing leg.

Restoring pet photos

From the second photo I was able to use some belly fur and shade it with the dodge and burn tools. I added some flash shadows behind the newly added leg parts.

Restoring pet photos

I reduced the red tint to the back and grey sofa and zoomed out for the finished product.

Hopefully you will look after your photos and not need to get your pet photos restored.

Can a low resolution digital photo be restored?

Low resolution digital photos can be restored but only as far as the pixels allow. Each image is made up from a collection of tiny pixels, all the colours and shades of the image made from small squares. If large areas of the image are blurred due to a dirty lens, or blurred due to movement of camera or subject, there has to be enough pixel information to correct the problem.

For an example I have included a 100 x 100 pixel image, (enlarged for this article) this is 10,000 pixels in all.

police man

This image seems clear enough and you can make out the pixels very clearly.

police man smeared

Add some grease to the lens and now there is not much detail left . (simulated mobile phone image with and dirty lens)

It would be possible to copy and flip the helmet badge but there is no way an image this blurred can be sharpened or brought back into focus.

Mobile phone lenses are tiny, so any dust or grease that gets on the lens, would cover a larger part of that lens than if it were on a conventional camera, as a result it can blur a large part of the captured photo. Although this image is just 10,000 pixels it could easily be an enlarged head and shoulders section from a mobile phone group shot. No doubt that dust will be obscuring the one person in the photo you wanted to be perfect.

The lesson here is if you are taking mobile phone photos of an event that you must have a record of and you dont have a conventional camera, make sure your mobile phone lens is clean, very clean! If your images get blurred as a result of grease or dust like the above photo, there is very little that can be done.

Can an original photo be restored?

Original photos are made from layers. Old black and white photos were often made from fibre based paper. The base papers themselves would have been made in paper mills and the top coating of light sensitive chemical based sulphates called “baryta” was then added to produce the photographic paper. Once exposed to light and developed the positive image is embedded in the “baryta” or emulsion. If this top layer gets damaged there is no way to build up the layer and replace it. You cannot add wax or pen or ink, nothing comes close to the original emulsion. If some of the fibres of the paper have come away, then what? These cannot be replaced either, you cannot simply glue down new ones! Even if it were possible to put back a blank filler into the hole, there is no way to reproduce the grain structure that was there in the original, or the subtle tones and shading of the original photo.

Damaged photo and some component parts

Damaged photo and some component parts

The same goes for  colour photos, the resin or solid polyester top coat cannot be replaced with anything, It cannot be built up and restored. If there was a way to do this that was commercially available, there would not be so many digital photo restoration companies offering their digital restoration services today!

Sorry but it is not good news if own a damaged photo and want the original restored.

Types of photographic paper (image courtesy of WikiPedia)

Types of photographic paper (image courtesy of WikiPedia)

The only salvation may be that working in conjunction with a photo restoration artist, you can get a digital restoration done and then use that to help patch up the original. Of course this would only work if the paper texture and tone could be matched!

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